By Michele Rayburn
John Owen has wrongly stated:
"To keep our souls in a constant state of mourning and self-abasement is the most necessary part of our wisdom..." (Works, VII, p. 532)
Roman Catholics, as well as those in other religions that do not know the grace of God in salvation, in effect "flagellate" themselves in order to be made acceptable to God, through works righteousness (self-denial, creeds, liturgy, sacred vows). But why should we? We who know the Lord's grace toward us not only for our salvation but for each day of our lives?
If we have been saved by grace, why should we "flagellate" ourselves now? We have been made acceptable to God and received His righteousness. We’ve been forgiven. And He loves us with an unfailing, everlasting love.
His love is not conditioned upon us pining away over our once fallen nature. The work is already done. Jesus said as He was dying on the cross, having been "flagellated" for us, "It is finished."
It’s by grace alone, through faith alone, on the Word alone, because of Christ alone...now and always. It is by God’s grace that He has given us new life, and it is by His grace that we will continue to live this Christian life. Now let us walk in it!
This is the rest of the gospel...the rest of the good news. Now that we have been saved, we have been made new creations in Christ so that we can "walk in newness of life" by His Spirit that lives in us.
"His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him...by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Christ is now living His life through us. This is something to rejoice in, not to be downtrodden about. Otherwise, we’ve missed out on the best part of being a Christian..."Christ in us, the hope of glory"!
What joy, what peace we will have as we rest in Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
The important thing to realize is that we have already been crucified with Christ (Gal.2:20). That is why Romans 6:11 tells us, "Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God...".
To consider it a future event keeps us from walking in that glorious truth now, and it is the truth that sets us free.
It's true that the flesh wars with the spirit, but it is the spirit which is our new nature, not our flesh. The "old man" is dead. Sin still resides in the flesh, but Paul makes it clear that that sin is not part of his new nature or spirit (Romans 7:17,20).
So, our goal is to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh. And to remember that "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus". (Romans 8:1)
Resting In The New Covenant of His Grace,